Biden may request $100 billion for Ukraine – Telegraph
US President Joe Biden is reportedly plotting a potential “one-and-done” Ukraine aid request that would be so big, he wouldn’t need to seek any more funding approvals from Congress until after the 2024 election, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.
The new aid request could be as large as $100 billion, enough to avoid continued legislative controversies that could hinder Biden’s re-election bid next year, the British newspaper said, citing people familiar with White House discussions. Such a proposal would dwarf the $24 billion funding request that US House lawmakers stripped out of the stopgap spending bill that they passed last week to avert a government shutdown.
“The big package idea is firmly supported by many throughout the administration,” the newspaper’s source said. “Supporters of Ukraine want this to be a one-and-done, big bill, and then not have to deal with it until after the next election.”
Biden’s administration is scrambling to find temporary ways to keep money and weapons flowing into Kiev, supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces, until a major aid bill is passed by Congress. For instance, a US State Department grant program could reportedly be tapped to provide around $650 million in funding.
White House officials were quoted by the media as saying that only a few weeks remain before a possible lapse in Ukraine funding, which they have warned could have devastating consequences on the battlefield.
Republican lawmakers have become increasingly critical of Biden’s Ukraine policy, with some arguing that massive aid to Kiev is only prolonging the bloody conflict at the expense of bigger domestic priorities. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted out of his leadership post earlier this week, the first such congressional ouster in US history, reportedly after some of his fellow Republicans heard that he had promised Biden a separate Ukraine aid bill to be approved after passing the stopgap funding measure.
The Biden administration won’t decide on whether to propose a one-and-done aid package for Ukraine until after a new House speaker is elected, possibly next week, according to The Telegraph’s report. Getting a $100 billion bill passed may require the president to make concessions to conservative Republicans on such issues as illegal immigration.
US Representative Lauren Boebert, one of the Republicans who have been critical of Biden’s Ukraine policy, suggested in an interview on Friday that the new House speaker may have to pledge to oppose more funding for Kiev. She noted that a majority of Republicans in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted against a $300 million Ukraine aid bill last week.
“For the first time, we saw that Ukraine funding alone does not have a majority of the majority’s support,” Boebert told US podcast host Steve Bannon. “Any speaker has to recognize that and not allow more funding for Ukraine to come to the floor. We are absolutely tired of spending it.”
Congress has already approved four rounds of Ukraine funding, totaling about $113 billion. The Pentagon warned last week that it had exhausted “nearly all available security-assistance funding for Ukraine.”